In the past three years I’ve launched eight books or short stories – four Jackson Speed novels, a couple of Moses Calhoun short stories, Iron Curling Ale and Four Things My Wife Hates About Mornings.
The launch of Jackson Speed at the High Tide has been the best so far.
The book went live on Amazon as a Kindle ebook last week and I made no announcement at the time. I was waiting for the paperback to be live before I started any promotions. Nevertheless, within a couple of hours of the book going live, someone in the United Kingdom bought one of the books!
If you think that doesn’t make me feel like the John Grisham of the War Between the States, then you are dramatically underestimating the value of the sale of one $3 ebook.
I’m still not sure exactly how so many people in the United Kingdom found the Jackson Speed books, but every time I get a royalty check in British pounds I am so grateful to my English speaking cousins.
Sales for High Tide have been surprisingly good these first few days, and I’m trying very hard to improve my marketing efforts. My hope is there may be some folks coming to see Jackson Speed for the first time.
If that’s you, I’ll offer a little background: Jackson Speed was born in the spring of 2013 while I reading Shelby Foote’s “The Civil War: A Narrative.” By a happy coincidence, I was splitting time between two books that May, Foote’s Civil War book and George MacDonald Fraser’s first Flashman novel. This was my third or fourth time reading Flashman.
I came across a passage – not more than a paragraph or two – where Foote described the efforts of the famous private detective Allen Pinkerton and “a female spy” who saved Abraham Lincoln’s life from an assassination plot prior to Lincoln taking office. Foote named the group planning the assassination as the “Blood Tubs.”
My imagination exploded. It was Fraser’s influence on me that did it. In an instant, I saw the entirety of Jackson Speed’s life form in my mind, and that morning I started writing the first Jackson Speed novel. That one was Jackson Speed: The Hero of El Teneria, and I introduced the lecherous young coward from the Mexican-American War in that book. It was followed up by the book that inspired the series – Jackson Speed and the Blood Tubs.
Volume III of the Jackson Speed Memoirs (Jackson Speed on the Orange Turnpike) leads directly into Volume IV – the latest in the series.
If you’re new to Jackson Speed, my intention was to write a series where you could pick up any book and start from there, and you certainly do not have to read them in the order they were written.
I suppose the books are popular in the United Kingdom because of the Flashman influence. It must be that the Brits just love a cowardly, lecherous scoundrel. No shame in that. I love them, too.
I’m pleased to say, though, that my domestic sales have picked up quite a bit over the past few months, and now that Jackson Speed at the High Tide is done and dusted, I’m working on Volume V – Jackson Speed in the Rush! This one will go back in time in Speed’s life, and readers will discover how he made his fortune in the California Gold Rush of ’49.
Texas Ranger, Forty-Niner, Pinkerton Detective, Yankee spy, Confederate officer, Wild West Gunslinger … Jackson Speed may be all these things, but if you read his memoirs you discover that he’s also a cowardly adventurer, a rascal, and a womanizer.
As one reader stated in a review, “The history is true and the fiction is fun!”
So check out the Jackson Speed novels if you like your heroes to be cowardly, and if you enjoy what you read, I’d love to hear from you!